Tuesday, April 04, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> CHS escapes trouble with lowly Tigers

Leader sports editor

The Cabot baseball team had a surprising bit a trouble with the 2-15 Little Rock Central Tigers on Friday, but Cabot got three runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game, and then won it 6-5 in extra innings.

Denver Mullins drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the eighth inning after Michael Shepherd put the Tigers down in order in the top half of the frame. Shepherd got one groundout, and then fanned the next two batters.

Dillon Thomas’ sacrifice bunt moved Mullins to second and Houston King walked. Mulins then stole third base on a 0-1 pitch to Bobby Joe Duncan. Duncan then hit a fly ball to center field, deep enough to drive in the game-winning run.

It was the second time in as many 7A-Central Conference games that Cabot won with a single run in the eighth inning. On Tuesday, the Panthers beat Conway 1-0 when Duncan scored on a passed ball.

Both teams finished with seven base hits, but much like they did against Conway, the Panthers failed on several opportunities to push runs across the plate. Central committed five errors to supplement Cabot’s seven base hits.

Cabot’s starting pitcher Brett Brockinton started out dominant. He struck out the side in order in the top of the first inning.

The bottom of the first was Cabot’s first blown chance to score. An error and a single had two runners on with one out, but Thomas grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Mason Gresham then got things rolling for Central with a leadoff single on the first pitch of the second inning. Emmanuel Mayweather drew a one-out walk, and Paden Chrisman hit an RBI single to center field for a 1-0 Tigers’ lead.

Cabot stranded runners at second and third in the bottom of the second inning, and Central (2-15, 0-4) took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third.

Nine-hole hitter KaJuan Richardson hit a leadoff single, and Aaron Mann followed with a double to right field. After a pop-up to Mullins behind the plate, Charles Pyron walked to load the bases. Gresham then hit a line drive to right field for a two-RBI single that made it 3-0 and left runners on the corners.

Ben Farzley then grounded to shortstop that turned into a non-traditional double play that allowed Pyron to score and make it 4-0.

Cabot (11-5, 4-0) only got one base runner over its next two at-bats, but again failed to score after getting two on with one out in the fifth. But Shepherd was exemplary after coming in with one out in the fourth, and Cabot finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Thomas drew a leadoff walk and Duncan walked with one out. With two outs, Caleb Harpole singled to left to score Thomas. Duncan then scored on an error at third base off the bat of Logan Edmondson to make it 4-2.

Mayweather hit a leadoff double to start the seventh inning, and scored on a two-out single by Richardson.

Facing a huge upset loss, Cabot caught a huge break with a Central error in the seventh, and then made the Tigers pay dearly for it by just being patient.

Thomas reached on a one-out line drive to center field. King then hit a grounder to shortstop where the usually reliable Mann couldn’t get the handle, leaving everyone safe. Duncan then doubled down the left field line to score Thomas.

Evan Hooper, Cabot’s University of Arkansas signee who was playing for the first time this season, walked to load the bases.

Harpole walked to drive in King, and Blake McCutchen walked to score Duncan and tie the game.

Harpole was the only Panther with multiple base hits, going 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Duncan went 1 for 3 with two RBIs and scored two runs. Gresham and Richardson each went 2 for 3 for Central.

Brockinton pitched 4 1/3 innings for the no decision. He gave up four earned runs on five base hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Shepherd got the win for his 3 2/3 of work. He gave up one earned run on two base hits with six strikeouts and zero walks.

Jacob Evans-Funk took the loss in his 1 1/3 of work. He gave up one earned run on no hits and three walks. Mann started on the mound and pitched 5 1/3 innings for the no decision. Ty Barrett threw one inning. He gave four runs on three hits and four walks.